Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

Last year I did this book tag and was very pleased with the result. You can check out my Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag for 2020 HERE. This year I am nervous about it and a lot closer to actually freaking out! Last year was a good year in reading. I read some great books and considering the world wide pandemic situation I had a lot of awesome reading challenges and time to participate in them. This year I made a reading goal to read 100 books – respectable book goal considering I have read 120 books last year.

Being halfway through the year it is time to look at my reading experience in the first part of the year 2021. By the end of June I was thirteen (13!) books behind on my reading to reach the goal I have set for myself.

Total number of books I have read in the first half of the year is 37.

I had some rough patches in the first months of this year and the unemployed status is starting to weigh down on me emotionally. It is at times panic inducing anxiety riding journey trough life that prevents me from focusing and drains me from energy I need in order to actually work on making my life better. Now with those depressing thoughts out here for everyone to see let us begin with this year’s Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

I got this book as a present from a my Buddy reading friend last year and it took me almost a full year to actually pick it up and read trough! What I found most amazing about this book was the inspiration for reading challenges and projects it offers and positive energy I got from reading trough it. It is more than just a comic/ graphic novel book with short and sweet bookish illustrations. I was pleasantly surprised by how many caricatures were grounded in real life situations of book lovers worldwide that may seem silly to anyone who might not be a part of that group. This book is an excellent gift for writers as well as readers. Endearing and intelligent at the same time this is the type of a feel good book any book lover would appreciate and I am very glad to have gotten it as a present!

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series by Laurell K. Hamilton is a longest standing book series I own and read. My relationship with this book series is complex and I am always apprehensive about the newest book. Rafael is one of the few books in the series that center around other characters development and story. Last one like it was Jason and that one was a little underwhelming for me. I was pleasantly surprised by Rafael as a wholesome book that made my interest in reading the whole series trough a second time peak! The storyline progressed, most of my favorite characters have gotten some page time, Rafael and the rodere have been shown in new light and all shifters in general have gotten a new dimension. It was one of the best possible sequels to a series I love to read!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs

&

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

There are a few books from last year that I wanted to read but did not get to just yet. Both are something I am looking forward to reading and both have gorgeous covers. I expect I would love reading both of them and my excuse that they just did not fit into my reading challenges prompts is weak at best….I have no excuse for not reading them yet! I got both of these books this year and if you want you can check out my Book haul post on them both from February HERE.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff

I have not read any books by Jay Kristoff! That being said I do have some of his books on my wish list and TBR. But when I first saw Empire of the Vampire being announced I was hooked! I think everyone is ready for a new vampire themed hit that will be made into movies and TV shows and have a huge following! I want that for this book! There is already GR record for a whole trilogy of this book series! This book has been announced a whole year in advance and there are so many wonderful special editions to choose from that I am stumped and can’t decide which one to choose! There is the obvious difference between the US and the UK edition cover art and there is a whole range of each with color variations and sprayed edges in different colors and even illustrations on them as well. Only thing I am sure of is that I want the hardcover edition for sure, the rest is still undecided. Any help is appreciated and I really hope I don’t end up with more copies of the same book because I really don’t want to be that person…Oh and the book is announced to come out in September!

5. Biggest disappointment

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan

I have been looking at this book series for a very long time. Even before I started this blog I was often browsing the Amazon bookstore online and making lists of books I wanted to read one day. This book was often on my lists but then I had no means of buying all the books I was interested in. This might have been for the best since this book was a total disappointment for me. In fact I thought the book so bad I could not even finish it. I still have problems with letting go of the books that I don’t like and will most of the time make myself finish them. On this one I made an exception and made myself stop reading at exactly half of it. The dialogue was dumb, the main characters had no appeal for me and the whole setting of the story seemed stretched too thin and did not even offer any interesting back up characters to grab onto. This book first came out over twenty years ago – 1999 and it did not age well. I am not bothered by many things and consider myself a very forgiving reader but this book presented me with some many things that annoyed me and did not offer anything worthwhile to hold onto and like…

6. Biggest surprise

Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven

As opposed to the last book I mentioned Radiance by Grace Draven was another Kindle edition I got this year that I quickly fell in love with! I tend to download samples of books that I find interesting and when I read the offered sample of this one I got hooked right from the start! I loved the fantastic setting and the quirky way the author presented the differences between humans and elves. I was intrigued by the world the author build and the only complain I had was that the title of the series made sense only when I started the second book Eidolon. The characters were interesting and the story was passionate. I loved it so much that I had to buy the next book in the series right away. There is one more book after these two The Ippos King and I am keeping my eye on it for some promotional price but I might give in and buy it before the price drop.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Martha Wells and Grace Draven

Space themed books and general science fiction are not my first pick and when I find a book that belongs in that genre and love it I make a note to look up more from the same author. Martha Wells is a new for me author I have heard about winning genre awards for her Murderbot series few years in a row. I decided to pick it up in a box set edition of first four books in hard cover. I was happy with the price point for them like this and the flimsy box or even a small damage on one of the box did not made me regret buying them. I ended up enjoying the short novella format of this series and plan to follow up for more books from Martha Wells. I had to add Grace Draven as a new favorite author because of how much I loved her worldbuilding style and her characters. Both of these authors I plan to read more books from!

8. Newest fictional crush

The artwork is not mine and all rights belong to their respective owners!

Asher from Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series

Asher is not a new fictional crush of mine. He’s one of the oldest fictional crushes I am still into. This year I am slowly continuing a second read trough Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series and I was reminded of how much I like him. I think he is an amazing character. I love his flaws and I get angry at how much he was used in Anita’s moody interpretation of morality trough the books. I keep coming back to some of his scenes and I wonder what happened to make him seem as an arrogant a-hole with a impulse control of a five year old spoiled child. It does not add up with how he first started out and was introduced in the series. I’m loving reading this “older” version of him.

9. Newest favorite character

The artwork is not mine and all rights belong to their respective owners!

Brishen and Ildiko from the Wraith Kings book series by Grace Draven

I am fangirling on both of these characters! I love their banter and their chemistry. The Prince of no value and the noblewoman of no importance are both awesome and intriguing! The reason I did not go for Brishen or Ildiko alone is that without Ildiko Brishen is far less interesting to me and without Brishen Ildiko is just bland and easy to ignore. I see them as a pair that should be kept and adored as a set!

10. Book that made you cry

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

I loved this book. I has also made me angry and sad to the point of frustration. I cried a bit at some parts too. There was so much tragedy and hopeless moments that I just found it hard to deal with. I devoured all other books from the Grishaverse but this one took me a lot longer to read trough. I am still mad about how some characters were dealt with. This book reminds me of pain and tragedy and even though some characters were supposed to have their happy ending I did not feel it. All that stayed with me after all the previous books was the feeling of melancholy and I expected a lot more and a lot better! My tears are from sadness but out of frustration as well…

11. Book that made you happy

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

There were a few books that made me feel happy this year. Most notably it was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling for my book club assignment in May. I love my Hufflepuff edition books and I finally have a complete set by getting the last two books for birthday this year. The last two book were given to me by my book club friends and that is a reason more to smile while I read them. I love the yellow and black design of books and I love the little stars that are above each chapter title! Just thinking about those books makes me happy!

12. Favorite book to film adaptation that you’ve seen this year

The Shadow and Bone

The first answer that came to my mind was Witcher! I have only recently read the first book and was sure that the first season was only last year only to be shocked to find out that the first season came out on Netflix in December 2019! This led me to the only option of The Shadow and Bone since I read the last book in the Grishaverse this year and watched the TV series as soon as it came out back in April! There were a few move and TV series adaptations I have seen this year and liked but all those I’ve watched I haven’t read the books or in some cases graphic novels for. Those would be: Enola Holmes and The Old Guard whose move sequels I can’t wait for.

13. Favorite review you’ve written (booktube or written)

2020 Reading Challenges Report

I kept meaning to write a book review but to my shame in the whole first six months of 2021. I did not write a single book review post! Throughout this book tag I have remembered more than one book that I had a lot of things to say about and more than a passing reading experiences to share. For this reason my favorite post this year is the summary on all the reading challenges I did in 2020. That post gives me an overview and a list of all the reading activities I made myself try out. I am still trying to continue with this so I can make a similar post next year that I can be proud of! You can check my 2020 Reading Challenges Report HERE.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

The Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

&

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

Both of these books I have already mentioned in this book tag already for different reasons. Grishaverse books are one of the most beautiful book mass produced on my bookshelves. But I can’t help but being drawn to the beautiful cover of my paperback edition of A Phoenix First Must Burn collection of stories. I have high expectations from it as well!

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas was my answer on this question last year. While I made some progress with it I can’t seem to get myself to finish it. I truly believe I would need to take a whole month away just to read that one book. My Word cloud edition has 1055 pages and I am currently on page 358. This is the book that I keep having in a background like an accusing hush but I just keep reaching for other books instead. I decided not to add more plans aside from reading challenges trough the year in order to get to this book. Clearly reading it slowly is not getting me anywhere and taking a whole month just to make myself read only one book seems a bit drastic. Maybe it is time to for drastic measures…

First book haul of 2021

Earlier in December and January I preordered and ordered some new books. The preorders were mostly the continuation of the book series I follow and the rest were on my wish list for a while now as well. I even indulged and got some new Kindle books I found recommendation on some of the Goodreads lists for Valentines Day! Due to Book Depository deliveries being exceptionally slow due to Brexit and Covid, and lets not forget the usual end of the year Christmas madness with packages, this led to a slow and anxiety filled waiting on the postman and my books each morning. All things considering these were the sweet pains to endure after all. Last of the books I bought was from a Facebook seller and since it was my first time buying used books in English this way I was a little apprehensive about that too. Lots of sweet pains later and I have a not so small a pile of books that spark joy!

Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton

This is one of the books I preordered before Christmas and the publishing date was 9. February this year! Usually I’m forced to wait for months before I get my copy of the new book when it comes out since I buy the US mass market paperback edition. In case of the book prior to this one – Sucker Punch, I’m still waiting for it to come out! So this book was a real treat. I was not that thrilled with the last book I read from the series and while I love the characters and I’m really interested in the world the author has build I did not have high expectations from this book. I already read it! I even made pauses for the book to lasts longer. I have many comments on it. so much so I might need to write the whole review for it soon just to get it all out of my system!

This book series is starting to outgrow my shelving solution and I will need to figure a better way to store all the books. Maybe even separate the two boo series by LKH I own and keep together currently…

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs

Second preordered book that was published and arrived on the same day as the previous one is another next book in the favorite urban fantasy series. I did not get to read this one right away – but it has only been about a week since I got it! There are more reasons why I love this book series and can’t wait for every next book.

The cover art of these books I have already gushed about few years ago. This is another author that I have two book series from but unlike the LKH, Patricia Briggs is more consistent with both book series and I get at least one book from either of the series each year. When one book series gets a new hardcover edition book the other one has a mass market paperback edition I collect out as well. This makes the wait for the next book more exciting and somehow sweeter and easier to pass.

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

I have a soft spot for short story collections and lately I have been doing great with reading trough most of short story collections on my bookshelves. In the sea of many new editions and books the title of this one caught my eye! There are few other books that I was interested in but this one really got me with a beautiful cover and an all female authors team.

This will fit nicely with other similar books on my shelves until I start reading it! I might even give it a go next month as a March contribution to female authors 🙂

Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven

My Paperwhite Kindle does not give this cover justice! I found out about this book by randomly clicking on a Goodreads Valentine theme banner for romance book recommendation. I went trough the link and on the one of the lists I was browsing I stumbled on this book. I was cautious enough to try the sample first and it got me really interested in the story and characters. I devoured the book in a day and a half and had to get the next one as well!

While I’m going a bit slower with the next book of the series I still love it and now that I’m invested in the fantastical setting and the future of the fantastical world the author created. I will be looking up for other books by this author as well as finding out how this trilogy(?) of books ends.

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark book 17) by Kresley Cole

This book has been on my too buy wish list the longest. It first came out almost four years ago now and it was a part of the book series I was collecting. In the meantime I read all the books in the series before it and since a few new books were were supposed to come out after it but they never did I just never got to getting this one before.

This urban fantasy romance book series is the one with the most “beefcake” and shirtless guys covers I own. As some previously mentioned urban fantasy book series I won I have been posting about this one before. The stories are a bit cheesy but I find them wonderful for the underlying message that there is someone for everyone and no matter how sad, bitter or angry we are because of what happened to us, there will always be a chance for a happy ending,

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons book 1) by Leigh Bardugo

This is the single book from this pile that I bought as a second hand book from one of the sellers in Croatia. I found it in one of the Facebook groups and this was the first time I was buying a book that way. I had the opportunity to buy this book before in paperback but I really wanted the hardcover edition and it has been on my wish list for a while now. The book turned out to be in excellent condition and I am glad I got it.

I have been a big fan of Wonder Woman long before Gal Gadot took on the role and they revamped her whole character. My SO brought me Batman: Nightwalker ( DC Icons book 2) by Marie Lu in hardcover a few years ago from one of his trips. Since then I have been meaning to get the other as well. Getting them in hardcover proved to be a bit pricey and I just keep postponing it. I love the concept of popular YA writers writing the background for these well known characters. The fact that Leigh Bardugo wrote this made me want it even more!

The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

In the last year Leigh Bardugo has become my favorite author. This book is a fictional book from the Shadow and Bone trilogy come to life with some extra content. It has been made to look like the prop they are going to use in the TV series and I think that is cool as well.

I read everything else Leigh Bardugo has written and published so far and getting this book was a natural thing for me to do. I love her characters and her fictional world. The illustrations by Daniel J. Zollinger look great and I am looking forward to binging on this one while I wait for the TV series on Netflix in April!

Just as I got the last book in the mail my SO decreed it was time to preorder another book as a gift for Valentines day! The book I choose as my present was another one of Leigh Bardugo Grishaverse books:

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

I am now properly hyped for the TV series and books and completely enchanted with Grishaverse world and characters!

Also while I was writing this post and looking for the images of books I remembered reading in one of the Facebook groups about one other book I was interested in some decade ago and is now on a special discount!

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1)

by Christine Feehan

This is an older urban fantasy romance book with vampires and a first book in a long and popular book series I wanted to try out for a very long time! The price and the Author’s Cut edition were enough for me to get it right away. I need to stop looking at new books for some time or at least until I make another bigger dent in the books already on my TBR and already on my bookshelves – virtual AND physical! Although I might give in to Wraith Kings book 3 after I finish the second book…

Naked City – Book Review

Naked City

by Ellen Datlow (Editor)

★★★★

Expectation

I was very excited when I first bought this book almost a decade ago now. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I had high expectations from this short story collection. I really love the cover and I am a big fan of Daniel Dos Santos cover art! I like the dreamy and intriguing quality of the characters on the cover and the misty setting that gives of fantasy vibes in an urban setting. I put this book on my personal reading challenge for the year and did finally picked it up for the Reindeer Readathon for the prompt that required me to read a book of my favorite genre! The names of the authors on the cover made me giddy with expectation of some good stories!

Summary

There are twenty short stories in this 500+ pages book. I did not realize just how big it was when I decided to finally pick it up. I expected fast paced short stories in urban fantasy but what I got was so much more. The stories of my favorite authors were excellent and I found some new authors to explore. I was reminded again of my interest in Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher!

1. Curses by Jim Butcher ★★★
I liked this short insight into the world of Harry Dresden. Dresden Files book series is on my TBR for years now but I keep pushing it back and not there are so many books in the series I feel it would be a chore for me to collect them all. This short story presented me with a good feel of the authors writing but I can’t seem to get into the whole baseball and sport sin general vibe. While I was reading I got flashbacks to another story with the same theme and that made my reading experience less enjoyable.


2. How the Pooka came to New York City by Delia Sherman ★★★★
Gritty story with feeling. I liked the charm and depth of the characters. Would not mind reading more of the adventures of Pooka 😊

3. On the Slide by Richard Bowes ★★
The fantasy elements were barely in this story. The feel of a PI noire drama and lives of cops were not that appealing to me. I understand the homage to the TV series that this collection was named for but I wish there could have been some more fantastical elements to the story that I could relate to.


4. The Duke of Riverside by Ellen Kushner ★★★★
Outside of a medieval feel to the timeline of the story there were not any evident fantastical elements here. Other than that the story was intriguing and the characters were interesting. This story is an excellent example of passionate characters presented trough PG rated narrative and I don’t mind it one bit. It actually seemed very hot in a rather spartan way. I have some issues with the choice of the narrator but overall I really loved this story and would be interested to read more about the characters involved.


5. Oblivion by Calvin Klein by Christopher Fowler ★★★
This story was full of symbols that had me triggering and I was not sure what I was triggered by. I could not help but think of it as a prelude to something bigger and just beginning to bloom. I would love to have a bit clearer insight into some questions that were put out there.


6. Fairy Gifts by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★
This was the second time I was reading this story and I loved it even more than the first time. The clarity of well made characters and narrative jumped at me from each scene. Author has a way of making it easy for me to picture and understand everything she presents on pages and is a definite favorite!


7. Picking up the Pieces by Pat Cardigan ★★★★★
It started out suspicious but turned out to be an amazing story. I loved the theme and the setting. There were some minor things I had issues with but the historical content was rather endearing. Great story!


8. Underbridge by Peter S. Beagle ★★★★
This was more an insight into human nature than fantasy. At times it was rather unnerving and I must say the ending was not what I expected. For some reason I find the idea of the story thought provoking not for its fantastical elements but for its depiction of human condition!


9. Priced to Sell by Naomi Novik ★★★★★
Pace of this story was a bit faster and more lighthearted than those before and I loved it for that alone! This one has all the elements that I love in my urban fantasy books: wide choice of supernatural creatures, faster pace in sync with the urban setting and a good dose of practical quirkiness.


10. The Bricks of Geleck by Matthew Kressel ★★★★
This story almost had an Arabian nights feel to it. I liked the melancholy approach and event the philosophical vibe it made me feel. Thoughtful and pensive.


11. Weston Walks by Kit Reed ★★★
Another philosophical and introspective story with all the urban fantasy elements. I could not help but feel detached from the characters and how they were presented. More questions were poised than were answered.


12. The Projected Girl by Lavie Tidhar ★★★★
Historical references of this story were eerie. Main character seemed innocent enough but the amount of ambiguity he was surrounded with actually scared me. There were so many unsaid thoughts and references between the lines that the authors ability to blend them in so effortlessly amazed me. Rich story, composed in an intriguing way.


13. The Way Station by Nathan Ballingrud ★★★
I was not prepared for the amount of drama and serious stuff in this one. The symbolism is making my head spin. My expectations were very much different and it is starting to impact my reading experience.


14. Guns for the Dead by Melissa Marr ★★★★★
I am not a fan of western theme in any form or format. That being said this story was cute and interesting. I like the idea and how it was presented. This short story peaked my interest and I would like to read more of it.


15. And go Like this by John Crowley ★
This story, if it can even be called that, reads like a train of thought of a person who makes lists for a living. I was presented with an idea, but for idea to become a story some literary finesse is required. This essay of words put together had no literary value for me. I did not enjoy it.


16. Noble Rot by Holly Black ★★★★★
Twisted in a delicious way. I found this story romantic and sweet. I keep being surprised at how much I like the writing style of this author. There is something about the way she writes strange and weird that make them terribly appealing.


17. Daddy Longlegs of the Evening by Jeffrey Ford ★★★
This was the first story with a kind of macabre feel to it. I was waiting for a story with a bit more horror elements to it and this one did not exactly rise up to my expectations. There were some scary elements for sure, but the visuals I got from the descriptions had a Burtonesque feel to them. Not enough to scare me but just enough to confuse me. The idea of the story seemed like an urban legend.


18. The Skinny Girl by Lucius Shepard ★★★★
I liked the cultural references. I know nothing about the geography of Mexico City and this was a scary interlude. Interesting story and intriguing use of supernatural elements.


19. The Colliers’ Venus (1893) by Caitlin R. Kiernan ★★★
I liked how this story started. Then there was a dream sequence and it all went blurry for me. It got better at the end but I don’t think I understood the point of the story at all.


20. King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree by Elizabeth Bear ★★★★
There were so many interesting characters in this story and the amount of mysteries left me intrigued. I liked the idea and the concept. The end of the story was kinda choppy but that was in the spirit of the main character and the theme I guess.

Conclusion

I did not expect the philosophical quality of the stories to be so intense. Many of the stories had a quite serious vibe to them. They reminded me of some classics of the speculative fiction genre form half a century ago. Most of the stories had a pensive and thought provoking agendas and challenged the reader to think about reality using some fantastical elements. Some stories were even Kafkaesque in their sombre characters and introspective aim. There were some definite favorites among these stories and there was a one complete dud as well! The story I liked the best was Noble rot by Holly Black simply because it held my attention the longest after reading.

I am glad to have finally read this book. It has given me a definite direction towards reading some other books and it is another short story collection from my bookshelves I have finally read!

Fantastic Hope – Book Review

Fantastic Hope

edited by

Laurell K. Hamilton

and William McCaskey

★★★★

Expectation

I was very interested in reading these urban fantasy stories and was mostly in for it for some of my favorite authors. This is a relatively new book for me since it is published earlier this year and I managed to fit it into my N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon for August! Also I was anticipating to read some great stories with characters I already know and love. Stories I was most interested in were Asil and the Not-Date by Patricia Briggs and Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton. All the rest of the authors were mostly unknown to me. When I read the foreword I was pleasantly surprised by the general theme of the stories being something happy and something to make the readers feel good. We need more of those kind of stories in the world!

Summary

  • Twilight Falls by Jonathan Maberry ★★★★★

Lately I’ve been watching some spy thriller conspiracy TV dramas and this story fit right up that alley. I was surprised at how much special operatives language and protocols felt familiar to me. I enjoyed this short story quite a bit! It was a good opening into the collection.

  • Not in this Lifetime by Sharon Shinn ★★★

I must admit this story was a bit cheesy for me. Too many things were too convenient in the end. I liked the little group of characters a lot though.

  • Mr. Positive, The Eternal Optimist by Larry Correia ★★★★★

This story has everything I like in my urban fantasy: some supernatural elements, some humor and something for me to connect with. The tone of the story is very endearing and I liked the action parts as well.

  • No Greater Love by Kacey Ezell ★★★★

I was surprised by religious content of this story. It made me thread very carefully. I ended even more surprised by liking this story a lot.

  • Broken Son by Griffin Barber  ★★★★

Science fiction and space themed stories are really not my thing. But this one was really nice. It reminded me a bit at Vorkosigan saga by Lois MacMaster Bujold. I genuienuly liked this story against all odds.

  • Heart of Clay by Kevin J. Anderson ★★★

I could describe this story as a really wild ride. There were too many supernatural elements and quirks for me to be able to really enjoy this story. I liked the humor that reminded me of works of Robert Asprin. I can point out some of the characters and ideas that were really engaging but as a whole I thought it was a bit too much.

  • Reprise by John G. Hartness ★★★★★

So far this story was the easiest to get into. Considering I have never read anything by this author I might have to change that in the future! It’s a vampire themed and intriguing. I loved the slightly melancholly feel of the story combined with demons and slightly changed alternate history setting.

  • Asil and the Not-Date by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

This is one of the two stories in this collection I was most interested about. It is from Alpha and Omega book series. First, it was written by a favorite author and second, it is set in a world full of lovable characters I already know. Asil is not exactly a favorite character but it is quite endearing and releateable for me. I was scared this story would be a sappy one but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t. Loved the ending!

  • In the Dust by Robert E. Hampson ★★★

Style of this story was more a series of short scenes than a traditional short story. Even with all that the emotions and the characters were very well done. This one is a bit science fictiony and thst is the only reason it was not that good for me.

  • Fallen by L. E. Modesitt, Jr ★

Finally a story I did not like at all. The theme, the execution, the flow – it was all very unsatisfactory to read. The little screenshots from history were not picked out with care at all. Pseudo religious content left a really bad aftertaste for me.

  • Working Conditions by Patrick M. Tracy ★★★★

This story is an excellent example of a sweet urban fantasy vampire story. And, yes! I am biased when it comes to vampires in urban fantasy! I like the simplicity and the kinda sad theme. It was very light and made me want to read more about the setting and the vampires in it.

  • Last Contact by M. C. Sumner ★★★★

There was someting about this story that I liked and I can not pintpoint what it was. Theme is thoughtfull and has some aliens in it.

  • Ronin by William McCaskey ★★★★

This one is a tear jerker! The story is a lovely blend of urban fatasy and harsh reality. It was a very endearing story.

  • SKJOLDMOĐIR by Michael Z. Williamson and Jessica Schlenker ★★★★★

Earlier this year I’ve read two different interpretations of nordic myths and this story made me want to read more of them. T has a certain epic quality mixed with subtle pathos of the main characters. I liked it a lot!

  • Bonds of Love and Duty by Monalisa Foster  ★★★★★

Another story that surprised me in a good way! The theme was totally science fiction but it I loved it. It is definitely something I could keep on reading.

  • Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton  ★★★★★

This story fits into Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series. I was very interested in this story and was not disappointed! I loved that this story has a little JC in it! Finally it is something that connects to one of the previous books. The idea that it represents is quite outrageous though. Loved reading it!

Conclusion

There were sixteen stories in this collection and about half of them were really excellent for me. Only one story felt underwhelming for me. All the rest were good and mostly surprised me in a good way. I found a few authors I will keep an eye out in my future reading and my two favorites were excellent. Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton was especially bittersweet to read since the new book in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series – Sucker Punch, just came out and I will have to wait until next year for mas market paperback to come out to get it and read it! I am glad I got this collection!

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon – Experience and thoughts

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This year I decided to try the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon for the first time. I looked it up last year but it was a bit too confusing for me at the time. After going trough the announcement video ( you can check it out HERE ) I was still a bit lost and like a newbie that I am decided to go all in and see how I will manage. The twelve prompts for the book picking were these:

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There are threads and helpful lists people contribute to and use as a help with picking out books for the prompts. There is also a counter where people can write down and contribute the books they read towards one general goal of the number of books read for the challenge.

I decided not to be a part of it. I was unsure about my picks being appropriate for most of the people that join the challenge since I read a lot of mature content and was planing to read some of it for the challenge as well.

Before I go over my picks let just clarify some things first. My main goal was to use the books I already own or have on the reading lists from other challenges as much as possible. For over a year now most of my reading challenges were focused on reading the books I already own. For this reason I did not use the helpful lists that people offered for the prompts as well. In some of my choices I was also guided by the availability of books on Kindle as freebies as much as possible. In some cases I got lucky and some were a complete dud. Here are the choices I ended up reading for the challenge:

 

Ancient Runes – heart on the cover/or in title

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✔ Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 3 (Kitchen Princess, #5-7) by Natsumi Ando ★★★★

I was very eager to get this one into the challenge. I did not actually notice the heart on the cover right away. Hint: there are hearts on the cooking glove. I was happy when I managed to pair it with this prompt since this manga is on two of my other reading challenge lists. The manga is and omnibus edition that collects three volumes in one big book. I had to continue and try getting into the story after a few years pause since I rad the last volume. The experience of reading was much better than expected. The story and the characters are easy to understand and the food recipes that accompany every volume are something I still want to try out!

 

Arithmancy – something outside my favorite genres (not romance or fantasy)

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✔ The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang ★★★★

Choosing a book outside my comfort zone that I already own was a task I was not looking forward to. I got this book on my first visit to Bratislava few years ago. I found it interesting and was eager to read a book by a Korean author. When the book was translated into Croatian I got the idea to push it in for my book club reading some time. I still plan to do that after reading it. Some parts of this book were a bit traumatic for me to read since they dealt with animal abuse. Most of it was cultural and generational gaps that I was sensitive to. The book deals with some sensitive topics and provoking thoughts. It has given me a lot to think about and I can’t wait to get the discussion going for it.

 

Astronomy – read the majority of the book at night

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✔ Bite Me (Bitten, #1) by C.C. Wood ★★★

Picking a book for this prompt for me was just about picking a book I can read on my Kindle before sleep. It was a random pick out of free urban fantasy for adults that were available at the time. It was okay book and I can’t pick out anything that was especially great or bad about it. Even now after reading I need some time to remember what it was really about since I read a lot of similar stories in this genre with vampires. I decided not to continue the series and later on I realized there were so many other books I could have picked for this prompt.

Care of Magical Creatures – creature with a beak on the cover

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The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

I had a lot of issues with finding a book that fits this prompt. What made me frustrated is that in March I was reading a book that would have been perfect for it! After much frustration I ended up picking the book above. I decided to count the Festus mechanical dragon as if he had a beak instead of a snout. In the end this decision did not sit well with me at all and I ended up pushing it to the end of the month and then not reading it at all.

 

Charms – white cover

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✔ Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card ★★★★

It was a surprise at just how many books with white cover I read this year so far. This book was an excellent choice and I was so proud of picking it out for this prompt. It was a book I wanted to read for a long time and it was also a book I had leftover from another challenge. There was some controversy about the author of this book and some of his opinions but I decided to try really hard not to let those affect me. The book was very good and even though I expected dark themes I think I was prepared for more graphic writing that it was for me. I loved reading the foreword and learning more about the impact of the book as well as reading it.

 

Defence Against the Dark Arts – book set at sea / coast

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✔ Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh  ★★★

I am not a fan of challenge prompts that make me do much research for the book. I like going into the book without knowing too much. At first the prompt for sea setting was daunting. I was relived when I browsed my shelves and found this book. It is a YA book my boyfriend got for me on his trip to Jamaica. The book won a Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. I check just to make sure the setting fits the prompt and added it. Ir would have been a usual YA adventure book if not for the huge cultural chasm that stood before me. I had no issues with reading about poverty and fantastical elements but some real life issues made it hard for me to connect with the book.

 

Divination – random TBR pick

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Balzac i kineska mala krojačica by Dai Sijie ( Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise)

I never used any apps that generate random numbers. Instead I want over my TBR for this year and made my boyfriend pick a number. Under the number he picked was this book. After reading the Vegetarian I was less motivated to read this book since I have a feeling that it will be one of those hard to process books. I generally love book drama but this book might be too serious for me right now. I ended up not reading it in April but it is still a part of my reading list for this year.

 

Herbology – title starts with the letter M

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✔ Maneuver (Men of Inked: Southside Book 1) by Chelle Bliss ★★★

For this prompt I was searching the Kindle freebie section for any book that starts with letter M. This is the first one that popped out! I don’t find the beefy cover that appealing and it made some of my friends snicker at it. After reading this I was a bit surprised. Even the short description of it hinted at some bad boy main character. The main male character is tattooed and muscled and that’s about all of the “bad boy” it gets. Targeted audience seemed to be single moms, otherwise not a bad read for a Kindle freebie.

 

History of Magic – book featuring witches / wizards

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✔ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

I had a few choices for this prompt but since I wanted to start reading my very own Hufflepuff editions I picked up a Harry Potter book for the Harry Potter themed reading challenge. It was only much later that one of my friends informed me that everyone was picking a Harry Potter book for this prompt. There are some great books about witches on my shelves and if I had known I would have made an effort to include one of them instead. Reading this book was a dream. Even little stars around every chapter title gave me butterflies and lots of Hufflepuff details and the very design of the book made me very happy and more intent on collecting the whole series in this edition!

 

Muggle Studies – contemporary

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✔ Fork In The Road by J. Coyne ★★

This is one of the prompts I had most problems with picking out a book for. As it turns out I don’t read or buy many contemporary books. I excluded urban fantasy from contemporary and it left me empty handed mostly. Again this is one of the prompts I turned to Kindle freebies for help. It took me a while to find something that interested me and in the end I settled on this one. Reading this book was like reading someones idea or romanticized memoires. It felt mostly rough around the edges and not really good.

 

Potions – book under 150 pages

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✔ Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ★★★★

For this prompt I decided to use a very old edition I had since I was little. It also coincides that this book was a reading assignment for my book club in April. I was actually surprised to fit it with this prompt and as shocked to find it was under 150 pages. In the book I found my elementary school notes. Reading them made me feel a bit embarrassed about how naive I was back then. We had an online book discussion and I loved it.

 

Transfiguration – book with shapeshifters

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✔ Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

I read a lot of books with shapeshifters in general. This is one of my favorite book series and authors. In the sea of urban fantasy books there are a few who can keep my interest and have adult characters with adult issues and lives. It was one of the books I enjoyed the most in April. The main character shifts into a coyote and is married to a werewolf. The series includes lots of supernatural creatures of all kinds and it keeps surprising me in a good way.

My thoughts on my O.W.L.s Magical Readathon experience

First of all I’m glad I did this. Some questions could be asked did I really participate or just used the prompt to get myself another reading challenge to try out. I’m kinda divided and still feel that some of my choices would have been inappropriate for most of the readers who participate in this challenge. I felt weird and at first I wanted to put down some of my books toward the general Readathon book count but in the end I did not do it. I guess I’m not much of a group person even when I want to try to be one.

I will take a month off and then latter in June will try to come up with some books to fit the next part of the challenge for August. I still have to go trough a rather big PDF file that explains how to try out for a profession out of the reading prompts I managed to pass – you can check them out yourself HERE.

I’m pleased with the pile of books I’ve read for this challenge and consider the experience a good one. The fact that I did not manage to read all twelve prompts does not bother me as much as I thought it would. Ten out of twelve is a good score considering I had no direction what so ever.

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April Book Wrap Up 2020

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Monthly reading review – April 2020

This April I have read:

 

Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 3 (Kitchen Princess, #5-7) by Natsumi Ando  ★★★★

The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang  ★★★★

Bite Me (Bitten, #1) by C.C. Wood  ★★★

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card  ★★★★

Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh  ★★★

Maneuver (Men of Inked: Southside Book 1) by Chelle Bliss  ★★★

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling  ★★★★★

Fork In The Road by J. Coyne  ★★

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry  ★★★★

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs  ★★★★★

The Last Blackstone Dragon (Blackstone Mountain, #0.5) by Alicia Montgomery  ★★★★

Master vs. Mistress (Red Chyrsanthemum Series) by Em Brown  ★★

Mastering the Virgin (Mastering the Virgin Box Set Book 1) by Simone Leigh  ★★★★

The Naughty List (Make Mine A Menage, #1) by Jodi Redford  ★★★

Zog by Julia Donaldson  ★★★★★

Alpha’s Blood (Midnight Doms #1) by Renee Rose  ★★★

A Girl, a Goat, and a Zombie (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #25.1) by Laurell K. Hamilton  ★★★★

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1. How many books have you read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read? 

This April I have read 17 books. This is the most I have read in one month for a few years now! I pushed myself and challenged myself to read more. For some reason I am a bit apprehensive to congratulate myself and be happy for it.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in April? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

The books I enjoyed the most were Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling. I feel happiness and comfort when I read my favorite book series and read about my favorite characters. Mercy Thompson has once more proven herself to be one of the best characters I have ever read! Also reading the first book of the Harry Potter series for the first time ever in my wonderful Hufflepuff edition was a dream come true!

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3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

This April I have gone overboard with Kindle freebies – mostly erotica Kindle freebies and some of the were not so great. Fork In The Road by J. Coyne was more of a blurb than a real story with severely underdeveloped characters and very visible “new writer” style.

4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

The whole month was dedicated to the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon reading challenge which I decided to try out for the first time. I choose the books for all twelve prompts and ended up reading ten out of those twelve. I even squeezed in some books to fir for my other challenges and I feel very good about those. I was escaping the plan all the time by getting some Kindle freebies and reading those instead.

5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

I finished the last Mercy Thompson book I had and got the series up to date – now I I can wait for the last book Smoke Bitten to come out in mass market paperback. I read all the Kitchen Princess manga I had as well. I tried a lot of new book series on Kindle and have finally started the Harry Potter series in my own hardcover Hufflepuff edition which I plan to continue on reading.

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6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

The Vegetarian was well off my comfort zone and it has stayed with me. I would like to try to push it for my book club reading when I get a chance to since I want to discuss it more but have decided not to make a review on it just yet. Harry Potter was a dream to read!

Final thoughts on April 2020 reading

April was a weird month in general I hope I will spare some positive energy for some May reading. I’m still in awe for the number of books total I’ve read. I’m hoping my thoughts will settle better for O.W.L.s Magical Readathon walktrough post I’m planing to write soon!

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon – April 2020

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This April I have decided to join YouTube Book Roast’s O.W.L.s Magical Readathon for the first time You can check this year’s announcement for more information HERE.

It is a reading challenge she is organizing a third year in a row. I’ve been looking at it before but for someone who is not that much into Harry Potter YouTube fandom I had some trouble understanding how it works. In order to get a better understanding of how it all works and how I’m going to participate I will try to explain how I decided to choose books for the challenge.

First a little bit on this reading challenge as I understand it. There are two Harry Potter thematic reading challenges that are put up a year. First is the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon based on the Ordinary Wizarding Level Examinations from the Harry Potter books. They represent a sort of an entry challenge. There are twelve reading prompts based on the subjects at the Hogwarts school. These prompts are different each year and this year they are loosely based on the third book of the Harry Potter series.

OWL prompts 2 2020

The reader chooses the prompts from the list and finds a book that fits the the challenge prompt. Later on in August the subjects that were chosen for the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon will be eligible for the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon and the choosing of a magical career accordingly.

The O.W.L.s Magical Readathon lasts trough whole month of April. As I am new to this and since I am kinda drifting in my reading endeavors AND life in general – I decided to go with all the available prompts in a rather optimistic and arrogant push to read twelve books in April.

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I’ve chosen my books and picked some of them from the from the already existing reading lists I made as much as I could since the twelve books is a lot for me now and I want to keep up with my other reading challenges as much as possible.

Here are my choices:

Ancient Runes – heart on the cover/or in title

Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 3 (Kitchen Princess, #5-7) by Natsumi Ando

Arithmancy – something outside my favorite genres (not romance or fantasy)

The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang

Astronomy – read the majority of the book at night

Bite Me (Bitten, #1) by C.C. Wood

Care of Magical Creatures – creature with a beak on the cover

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

Charms – white cover

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card

Defence Against the Dark Arts – book  set at sea / coast

Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh

Divination – random TBR pick

Balzac i kineska mala krojačica by Dai Sijie ( Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise)

Herbology – title starts with the letter M

Maneuver (Men of Inked: Southside Book 1) by Chelle Bliss

History of Magic – book featuring witches / wizards

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling

Muggle Studies – contemporary

Fork In The Road by J. Coyne

Potions – book under 150 pages

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Transfiguration – book with shapeshifters

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs

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Due to explicit nature of some of the books I will probably not enter my choices to the Hogwarts library form that readers use to count their books and participate in the community challenge. For now I’m opting to keep this challenge for myself alone in that regard. As for the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon I will have to see how I will do with this challenge.

Wish me luck?

Book haul 1/2020 – Pretty new books!

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It’s barely February and I’ve already got myself a nice pile of new books. And these books are so pretty as well! The first book that arrived in 2020 was actually a late arrival from December 2019 – King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve already read it and loved it and it has caused me withdrawal pain from the long period of waiting on the next book that is Grisha related from Leigh Bardugo!

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I used to buy mass market paperbacks only because they were cheaper and because I can fit more of them on the bookshelf. Even now I got a bookshelf that can fit exactly two rows of paperbacks on a single shelf and I love it!

Lately I’ve been indulging in buying some hardcover editions. I am simply swooned at how beautiful they are! I blame Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black! I was enamored into their books to wait on my usual mass market paperback editions! Holly Black’s Queen of Nothing had a six months (!) wait time for the paperback edition to come out!

I find Leigh Bardugo’s books especially beautiful! Just look at the Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) I got recently! If some other book series were as well designed I might have been forced to get more hardcovers!

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There is a problem I’m facing as a lover of some older urban fantasy book series is becoming an issue here. Some of them are out of print – Shift (Shifters, #5) by Rachel Vincent is sold out at my usual book buying places. This has left me with buying books three and six in the series while they are still available. Also they are different format sizes which sucks for the shelf placement.

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The last book that arrived just the other day was a pre-ordered mass market paperback of one of my favorite urban fantasy book series: Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs. The waiting time between the books for Mercy Thompson is almost a year for me now. The only thing that’s keeping me still when I see the new hardcover book in the series has come out; is a look at my shelf and all other books in mass market paperback editions I already own. I’m actually pleased at how nicely they fit there and the thought of getting just one new book in a different format leads to frustration of having them all in beautiful hardcover editions. The hobby of having some of my favorite urban fantasy book series complete in hardcover is not only really expensive but for some book series an extraordinary feat of good luck as well. As I’ve mentioned before, many of the books from the series are sold out and finding a hardcover edition in good shape is extra problematic for a book lover based in EU.

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It is a long standing fantasy that one day I will own my favorite book series in hardcover editions so I can reread them anytime I want without having to be very careful not to crease the spine of the book. It is a bookish peeve I guess but I get upset when my paperback editions get hurt and the spine of the book suffers damage.

In conclusion to this one month book haul in my defense I can say that I’ve read more books in January than I’ve bought! I’ve read seven books and bought six. From the new books I got I already read two and plan to read others soon as well!

Here is the list of the books I got:

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs

Pride (Shifters, #3) by Rachel Vincent

Alpha (Shifters, #6) by Rachel Vincent

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black

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December Book Wrap Up 2019

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Monthly reading review – December 2019

This December I have read:

Shifting Shadows (Mercy Thompson Shorts) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★

Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels #3) by Robert Venditti, Rick Riordan ★★★★

Black Butler, Vol. 2 by Yana Toboso ★★★★

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

Mr. Sinful (Heartfelt #1) by Serenity Woods ★★★★

gr December books

1. How many books have you read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read? 

I’ve read seven books total in December. Considering that all but one were started and finished in the last two weeks of December this is a pretty good score.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in December? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

I enjoyed all the books I’ve read in December this year. They were all pleasure reading for me. I’ve rated only two books with five stars out of five: Shifting Shadows and Siege and Storm. The Darkling  from Grishaverse series might even be a incentive enough for another reading of the Shadow and Bone trilogy how much I liked the scenes he was in!

3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

This December I can’t complain on any of the books I’ve read!

4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

I had a list of books I wanted to read by the end of the year. And with all wishes and lovely books I had on my reading list I could not account for real life getting in the way of my reading for most of December. Out of fifteen books I planned on reading by the end of the year I read only nine. You can check out my list HERE.

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5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

I’ve finished Shadow and Bone trilogy and plan on reading more Grishaverse books soon. I got one more Black Butler manga and one more Percy Jackson graphic novel close by I need to read as well. I thought I would have read Kitchen Princess by now as well. I’m also eyeing some new book series right now and the only thing that is stopping me is that I’m worried because I don’t have all the books in case I get really into it!

6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

Shifting Shadows and The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic were two short story collections that reminded me how much I like the short story form. Read something short and sweet from time to time! You might like it a lot and if not you will not spend a lot of time on it. Short stories are best way of sampling and enjoying new authors and ideas and need more appreciation.

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Shifting Shadows – Book Review

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Shifting Shadows

by Patricia Briggs

★★★★★

Expectation

I’ve taken my time reading this short story collection. For years I owned it I only read two stories and one of those I did read I kept coming back to more than once. Every time I read a new Mercyverse book I get really excited and want to read more. Sadly my waiting time between the books sometimes extends for over a year since I buy mass market paperback editions with US publisher covers. This can sometimes influence my reading interest. Last Mercyverse book I’ve read was earlier this year – Burn Bright of the Alpha & Omega book series.

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Summary

This time I decided to read all the stories from the first one. The first story kinda gave me trouble since it set the pace for all the others. In comparison to the other stories, this one is a longer and kinda darker. All the stories have some heartwarming elements among the darker themes and characters, but the first one ended a bit frustratingly to me. And this I believe is the reason I had trouble to keep reading the stories in order. The stories are also set in a timeline with the book series. They mostly follow characters that don’t get to tell the stories from their point of view in the both book series – Mercedes Thompson book series and Alpha & Omega book series. Notable exceptions are: Alpha and Omega story that is an introduction to Alpha & Omega book series and the Hollow story which is a short story with Mercy as the main character.

  1. Silver – Melancholy but worth it! This short insight into Bran and Samuel’s past raised more questions than it actually answered.
  2. Fairy Gifts – I loved the angsty feel of this story. The characters had a very short page time but seemed so alive to me. It was short and sweet.
  3. Grey – Loved it. Kinda romantic vampire theme. Awesome read for October and November!
  4. Seeing Eye – This story reminded me how much I enjoy the author’s writing style. The story was full of anticipation for me. I had forgotten how these characters fit into the Mercy Thompson universe. Their intro story was bittersweet. I loved it. I would love to read more on them.
  5. Alpha and Omega – I first read this story in On the Prowl collection years ago. It was an amazing introduction to a new series. Since then I’ve came back to reading this story many times. There is something about it that makes it special for me. For a very long time this story has been an only story I’ve read in Shifting Shadows collection.
  6. The Star of David – I sometimes forget that the world the author created is so rich in supernatural elements and the Wizard in this story took me a little by surprise. The story was kinda melancholy but full of positivity.
  7. Roses in Winter – I’m glad that Kara got some spotlight but reading about Asil was a pleasure in on itself. It was an experience to revisit Asil as a character especially since he’s been having more appearances in Alpha and Omega series as well. It has also been great to see how Bran runs the packs.
  8. In red, with pearls – Warren is such a lovable character. This story had me expecting some noir detective plot. I thought the story was very intriguing.
  9. Redemption – There are so many opposites about Ben and how his character reacts. I enjoyed this story. The IT theme was cool and I loved it.
  10. Hollow – From all the stories this one seemed a bit unpolished. I guess all the other characters were so much engaging to read since they were presented form a different perspective. This is the only story that has a character of Mercy as a leading character. I guess I expect longer and more complicated stories when Mercy is involved.

Two bonus scenes:

Silver Borne bonus with Samuel and Ariana was a pleasure to read. I kinda missed not being able to read more about them getting together again. A background info on them just going off on a honeymoon was definitely not enough.

Night Broken bonus with Adam and Coyote with Mercy in the hospital was unbelievably sweet!

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Conclusion

It took me by surprise how easily I can get into these stories and how a completely unknown character can seem so close. These characters are so easy to relate to and to understand their motivation. I think this collection serves to make a rich supernatural world the author has built even better and more layered. It is great to see how much effort the author puts in all her characters. I loved this short story collection and I’m glad I finally read it! Another thing that surprised me that I loved all the stories!

I have two new books from Mercyverse to look forward to:

Storm Cursed ( Mercy Thompson Series book 11)

Smoke Bitten ( Mercy Thompson Series book 12)

I’ve pre-ordered Storm Cursed and the mass market edition I go for is coming out in by the end of January next year. Smoke Bitten is being published in March as a hardcover edition and I will be waiting for it to come out as a mass market paperback probably sometime next year…

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